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A PERSISTENT little bug has been preying on my mind more than I would have liked in recent days - though not literally. Which is about the only good bit of news when it comes to the mite in question.
THE time of year has arrived when many anglers become utterly possessed with the desire to get fishing for salmon, with the back end rivers especially becoming the focus of frenzied activity.
HEADING off solo into the hills of the north with fly rod and a map is, for me, the very essence of wild trout fishing in Scotland. Countless lochs, big skies and brooding heather-clad heights combine to promise all and nothing.
AFTER catching a wild brownie of mythic proportions in one of the Strathy lochs, a final day's fishing in Caithness, south of Melvich, was a sort of anti- climax, if enjoyable.
DRIVING north to fish for some of the finest-looking trout on the planet never fails to conjure up visions of playing oversized brownies in dramatic settings. Add to the trip time spent with a lady who knows all about the rich waters of Caithness, and it's fair to say a fine time can be expected.
I HAVE been known to harp on about fly-fishing being the new rock 'n' roll, usually after a full-on session immersed in the water or over several libations after occasional successes.
I FOUND myself outfoxed and humbled by a wily river trout and my eight-year-old daughter the other evening. This should have been of little surprise as both parties have demonstrated an inherent ability to amaze, delight and bamboozle. But having to deal with them at the same time was harsh.
APRIL, which is one of several favourite months in my angling calendar, has slipped past with agonising speed.
IT’S TIME to talk about trout. For a start, you can’t beat early-season trout fishing with lean, mean and hungry fish rushing upwards with confidence to take your perfectly placed dry fly before exploding on the surface with raw power. That’s the theory anyway.
OH THE joys of spring. Beware the Ides of March more like. Little did I think an idyllic day spent on stunning Loch Venachar could lead to me being the recipient of some truly shocking pictures, digital evidence of a disgraced fly-fishing purist attempting, corruptly, to redeem his shattered reputation.
YOUR angling correspondent seems to be suffering from a mild attack of March blues - and I’m not talking about some fresh colour variant of a popular early-season dry fly.
WHEN snow and ice combine to keep me from my favourite fishy haunts or investigating fresh waters around the country, solace can often be found on cold winter evenings by time spent with the bible.
UNTIL last weekend, competition angling represented virgin territory for me, and it was with some trepidation that I arrived at the Black Bull pub at Earlston in the Borders to compete in the annual grayling competition held on the River Tweed and its Leader tributary.
I CANNOT brook New Year’s resolutions, my master plan for 2005 being simply to get out more. There’s no time like the present, so today I will be trying for pike on the Mill Loch, Dumfries and Galloway, with spinner and fly.
I FOUND myself helping a doctor of biology to record the vital statistics of some lovely ladies - which needs a bit of explanation.
SALMON are running hard and time is fast running out to catch them, with only two days left before the last of our rivers close for deepest winter.
THIS salmon fishing malarkey is reaching a critical phase, a point in the season where the end is nigh, but when potentially enough days of prime fishing are left to keep all obsessive anglers on tenterhooks.
A COLDER wind has been blowing of late and, as ever at this stage of the season, with it comes the need to be suitably dressed for long hours spent exposed to the harsh elements.